“I just want you to know who [The Goo Goo Dolls are].”

Author: Stephanie Hoff

There has never been a band I’ve vibed with more than The Goo Goo Dolls. 

Their raspy lead voice (John Rzeznik) and soft easy rock (musicians Robby Takac and George Tutuska) can carry me through the roughest days. It also mellows me, grounds me, and inspires me. 

I have a strong connection to this band as it was one of my mom’s favorites. I’ve listened to them throughout my childhood. The band formed in 1986, I was born in 1998, and I still listen to them almost every day! 

You can imagine that when I saw this…

…that I about lost my sh*t. I have been following this band’s tour schedule since I got my license and could work to afford to go. I’ve been researching how close they were coming to Wisconsin and how I would get there. But, it looks to me that they were planning something special in secret.

“So why don’t you slide” with me to the November performance at the Orpheum.

The Venue:

Perhaps you are familiar with the iconic Orpheum sign that towers over State Street. The Orpheum has been a centerpiece of the downtown Madison community since it opened its doors in March of 1927 after a building cost of $750,000. It was originally built as a vaudeville venue, which were theatrical dramas that had a variety of entertainment like comedy and ballet all in one. It was the first building in Wisconsin to have air conditioning. It has even gained entry on the “National Register of Historic Places” in Wisconsin.

Since then, it has been remodeled in 2013, and restored to its former glory. Now, the Orpheum is home to live concerts, national touring comedy acts, and private events like weddings. As you walk towards the entrance, you’re greeted by a limestone, art deco style exterior and an extravagant French Renaissance interior that makes the space feel sophisticated and classic.

The Band

The band’s original lineup starred John Rzeznik on guitar and vocals, Robby Takac on bass and vocals, and George Tutuska on drums and percussion. The trio picked their name from an advertisement for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll before their first gig in Buffalo, New York – where they started. Their first album, The Goo Goo Dolls, came out in 1987. In 1995, Tutuska was replaced by Mike Malinin on the drums.

It was the song “Iris” that pushed The Goo Goo Dolls into the mainstream and out of their alternative roots. It appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 romance film, City of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. “Iris” spent almost a year on Billboard’s airplay charts and 18 weeks in the number one slot. It was also nominated for three Grammys.

One of my favorite albums of The Goo Goo Dolls is Dizzy Up the Girl, and it was released during “Iris”’s craziness. The album sold over three million copies. Hits from this record were “Slide” and “Black Balloon” (mentioned below) and “Broadway” (look up after you read this).

With the turn of the century came a struggle for the band to keep their large audience. However, “Let Love In” is a fantastic song (it went gold) that came out in 2006. The Goo Goo Dolls kept pushing out albums with a hit here and there.

Today, they are a two-man band. Malinin left the band and Rzeznik and Takac decided not to replace him. Their first duo album, Boxes, and single, “So Alive”, was released in 2016. Their current tour is to promote their upcoming album, Miracle Pill, which comes out on September 13, 2019. They are doing a 21-city fall tour starting in Austin, Texas, and finishing in Toronto. Joining them are special guests, The Unlikely Candidates and Beach Slang.

Top 7 Songs as seen on Spotify (because I can’t just list 5):

  1. Iris is the most famous song. The lyric that is the most iconic is “and I don’t want the world to see me, ‘cause I don’t think that they’d understand. When everything is made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”
  2. Slide is one of my favorites and I mentioned it above. The most iconic lyric is “Oh May, put your arms around me, what you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful. Oh May, do you wanna get married, or run away?” and “I want to wake up where you are, I won’t say anything at all, so why don’t you slide and slide into my room and we can run away run away run away.”
  3. Name is a sad one, but it has a different meaning for different people as fan blogs indicate. I think of missed opportunities when I hear this song. But, some people think about love. My favorite part is the instrumental part that gives off a bluegrass and old-time music vibe. The lyric that speaks to me is “We grew up way too fast and now there’s nothing to believe and reruns all become our history. A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio.” I think it’s a reminder to not let life run by you. This track was a Top Five in 1995.  
  4. Sympathy is a song that reminds me of the A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray because it’s one of the songs that plays during that movie. The best lyric is “And I wished for things that I don’t need (all I wanted) and what I chase won’t set me free (it’s all I wanted) and I get scared but I’m not crawlin’ on my knees.”
  5. Black Balloon is hard to make sense of, and by that, I mean the lyrics are confusing. But, this one is great, “And there’s no time left for losin’ when you stand and fall.” It tells me to get back up when you fall down, because you literally don’t have time to lose. It was nominated for a Grammy.
  6. Miracle Pill is from The Goo Goo Dolls newest release. The most relatable lyrics are in the introduction, “What I need is to feel incredible. What I need is a real love chemical.
    Wanna beat like a heart that’s painted in gold.”
  7. Come to Me’s chorus is the greatest, “Come to me my sweetest friend. Can you feel my heart again? I’ll take you back where you belong and this will be our favorite song. Come to me with secrets bare, I’ll love you more so don’t be scared, and when we’re old and near the end, we’ll go home and start again.” It’s so happy and full of love.

I encourage you to explore more of their songs and review them for yourself! You’ll fall in love, believe me.

I’ll see you at the show!